Fiji Is The Best Event On Tour By A Mile, Mason Surfs Dry Reef, & Thank You For Everything Mr. Taj Burrow – This Week In Surfing
Ten Things From Surfing & The Internet On The Week That Was June 17, 2016
1. Taj, Thanks For Everything
“Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road…” Can’t believe no-one has made a cheesy slo-mo edit of Taj Burrow smiling down the camera while Green Day’s "Good Riddance" plays. How has that not happened? Come on Internet, what’s wrong with you?
Anyway, everything changes, 18 year olds graduate high school, your best friends get married and buy houses in different suburbs, and your heroes like Taj Burrow eventually stop competing on the WSL. This week, just yesterday actually, Taj Burrow surfed his final competitive heat as a Championship Tour competitor. And his final heat was perhaps the perfect goodbye.
Up against John John Florence, who in many ways is this generation's Taj – the world's most inspiring surfer, the only surfer pushing the boundaries in surf films while competing for World Titles at the same time – Taj waved goodbye to top flight competition in the most perfect waves he could have asked for.
He didn't win, but he surfed as if he did, he smiled as if he did, and we celebrated as if he did. For the past 18 years Taj has surfed every event with the sort of stoke us average kooks would imagine we'd have if we woke up tomorrow and found ourselves surfing in a heat jersey for a living. He lived the stoke for us, and gave us a guy to go for, no matter where he was, no matter who he was up against. As weird as it is to say, we appreciate him for living his surfing life as it should be lived, for staying stoked, and for loving surfing more than anyone. Thank you, Taj. You're the man. (And, Sabotaj is still the best.)
2. The Fiji Pro Was Amazing, So Were Gabriel Medina, Kelly Slater, Matt Wilko, John John Florence, Mick Fanning, et al
Just last week we were talking about how besides a World Title showdown at Pipe, the Red Bull Cape Fear event would go down as the event of the year. A week later, the WSL’s blue ribbon event of the Fiji Pro put on the spectacle of the year and had us cooking our words into a humble pie and eating that thing like we bought it from the bakery after three hour session at Whaley. Holy Namotu was this a good event.
Eight lay days in a row tested our patience, but Cloudbreak finally delivered with the penultimate day of the waiting period giving us the best day of surfing competition probably since last year’s Fiji Pro, only to be topped by the line-ups of the final day. Line-ups, as in the macking perfection out on thunder reef, and the final line-up of star studded surfers left to paddle out and battle it out on finals day morning. Could you ask for a greater match up of competitors in World Champs Kelly Slater, Mick Fanning, Gabriel Medina, Adriano DeSouza, as well as World no.1 Matt Wilkinson and superstar of the era John John Florence. Perhaps the the only other World Champion on tour, Joel Parkinson, and the sentimental favourite of Taj Burrow could have made it perfect, however Ace Buchan (Australia’s nicest legend), and Wiggoly Dantas (Brazil’s nicest young legend in rising) did more than suffice. To make for the most watchable bunch of heats in succession in recent memory.
In the end it was Gabby Medina who won, picking up mid-year momentum like a steam train chasing down Puffing Willy, Matt Wilkinson, who finished with a another solid result in his best year ever, and will keep the yellow jersey as they leave Fiji and head for South Africa.
To J-Bay they go! To destroy the long walls of that classic right point and the demons that lie in waiting underneath them. This year is getting good, guys. Really good.
3. Kelly Slater's Performance Before The Final Day
Despite not winning, and not winning an event for a year and a half, let's just remember that when the best wave in the world pumps, during the best surf comp in the world, Kelly is still the king out there. Here's his ridiculous Round 4 heat where he notched a lazy total score of 19.77.
4. Mason Ho Rock Hops The B52s
The Mason Ho License To Chill series be consistently bringing us the funnest surf clips every week. This one is a rock surf special, with Mason choosing to surf where no-one else in the world, except for maybe Ozzie Wright, would risk the skin of their knuckles and the fins of their boards to ride. Cringey, but awesome stuff.
5. That ECL, Bombs On The East Coast
Spencer Frost’s edit from last week’s super crazy awesome swell, starring Craig Anderson, Scott Dennis, Sean Mawson, Brettt Burcher, Leroy Bellet (Aus photo of the year winner, nice to see the mad man is wearing a helmet these days) and Elliot Marshall. Feel the power, the cold hard power of a rugged Aussie coast. Bloody love it. The funniest thing about this clip is how a lot of the surfing internet is saying it’s the south coast of Australia, as in South Aus. Trading one place that hates to be named for another, two sets of angry locals can get angry about this one if they wanna.
SEE ALSO: The East Coast Low Swell Breakdown
6. That Swell With Harry and Ricardo and Shauny Manners
Josh Simpson is one of the best and most underrated Aussie surf filmmakers, and his edit for Kustom of that last swell is sick! Starring Sunny Coast larrikin Harry Bryant, lovable Kiwi Ricardo Christie, and next big thing Shaun Manners in paaaaa-umping tubes from the Sunny Coast to the North coast.
7. Cooper Chapman In Indo
Narrabeen’s Cooper Chapman is currently 12th on the QS, and that include’s current world no.1 Matt Wilkinson, who certainly won’t be needing to requalify through the QS this year. There have been no QS10,000s yet ("Primes", in pre-2015 language) which are essentially the most deciding factor in CT qualification, but here’s hoping the good beginning to 2016, and this solid Indonesian edit of rounded out turns and stomped airs, is enough confidence and momentum for the Coop-daddy to swing a result or two in Europe and Hawaii and join the big stage in 2017.
8. Parker Coffin: Whatever Beach Episode 4
From Cali filmer Victor Pakpour comes a new eppy of his Whatever Beach series. This one focussed on Cali kid Parker Coffin, the younger brother of that Conner dude currently killing it in his rookie year of the World Tour. What’s fun about the Parker brothers is that they are different stances. The goofies can go for one Coffin, and the naturals the other. Pick sides. Start a war. Fun. Good above the lip, on rail, in the tube, it seems inevitable that little bro will join big bro in the big leagues at some point. If he wants.
9. The Naturally Refreshing Sunshine Coast
Come for the video of perfect Sunny Coast beachies that look so so so fun amongst last week’s days of epic swell, shot in beautiful soft light. Stay for the song titled “Along The Bruce Highway” and the sometimes very literal pairing of song lyric to video image. Classic stuff. “Pineapples and paw paws too, tea tree by the ocean bluuuuuuuue.”
10. Padang Padang From The Clouds
And to send us into the weekend, here’s some serene imagery of the naturally stunning Padang Padang, as seen from the clouds, soundtracked to some wildly monotonous electronic music. It’s great how music producers can take a good song and then improve it by just removing the catchy bits and all the structure that made it a hit in the first place. Songwriting, pffft. Anyway, I digress. Some really beautiful drone imagery here. Hit mute and enjoy.
Bonus... Skeggs' New Single
2016's premier Aussie surf rock band have a new track for your ear-holes and stoke glands!
And that was this week in surfing. Have a good weekend everyone.
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